The Five Most Common Truck Accident Causes
Some of the most grisly accidents on roads today are those caused by huge commercial trucks. Statistics show that about five hundred thousand accidents on the road are caused directly or indirectly by commercial trucks. Out of these, five thousand lead to deaths. Over the years, road authorities have put in place measures to reduce the number of collisions and truck accident fatalities. However, this has caused a very insignificant reduction in the accidents. Here five of the most common causes of truck accidents.
The most common cause of truck accidents is fatigue by overworked drivers. Most truck drivers normally drive over long distances for many hours with very little rest in between. This is mainly caused by the owners of truck companies who demand the delivery of goods to certain destinations within a short period of time. Truck drivers find themselves under a lot of pressure to deliver within the set deadlines. They get little quality sleep over the course of the journey. The accumulated fatigue causes them to lose concentration, coordination and sometimes they end up sleeping on the wheel.
2. Alcohol and Drug Use
Many truck drivers have been found guilty of using alcohol and non-medicinal drugs while on the job. Some only take these substances at stops in towns across the country while others go a step further and carry alcohol and drugs with them while driving. Regardless of how they use these substances, their driving becomes impaired and they can easily cause accidents.
It is not only illegal drugs that can lead to accidents on the road. Some prescription drugs that the drivers may be using also have the effect of impairing their coordination and judgement, leading to road accidents.
3. Poor Driver Training and Truck Maintenance
Before truck drivers can be allowed to drive huge commercial vehicles on public roads, they are required to put in a certain threshold of training hours and to meet certain minimum requirements. However, not all truck drivers adhere to these guidelines. What you get is a poorly trained truck driver with little experience behind the wheel.
Likewise, truck owners are required by law to see to it that their trucks are in top condition before hitting the road. However, they do not normally do this due to the costs involved and time it takes to maintain the trucks – time they could use to make deliveries. Poorly maintained trucks being driven by poorly trained drivers is one of the biggest causes of truck accidents.
4. Overspeeding and Overtaking
Truck owners usually demand that truck drivers reach certain destinations within a certain time period. This is not always achievable due to many factors, including poor weather conditions and traffic snarl ups in some sections of the road. However, due to the pressure that the drivers are put under to meet these deadlines as well as the risk they face of losing their jobs, the drivers normally drive over the speed limit. Overtaking by these big trucks at break-neck speeds forces oncoming drivers in smaller cars to veer off the road leading to crashes, most of which are fatal. Over-speeding also has the effect of significantly reducing reaction time. When driving at high speeds, drivers may be required to break immediately or suddenly veer into another section of the road. when at high speeds this is not always possible.
5. Distracted Drivers
In the course of driving for many hours over long distances, drivers get bored on the road and regularly look for something to keep them occupied. This urge to kill the boredom leads them to do one of several things. The most common one is using their phones to read or reply text messages, make phone calls or even visit their favorite social media sites. Changing the car radio station while on the road has also been attributed to distracting drivers, leading to accidents. When on the road in the country, the reception of some radio stations is poor in certain areas. This causes the drivers to reach over to their radios and find a station they can listen to. This happens even when they are on the freeway driving at a high speed. Even a fraction of a second when a driver takes his eyes off the road could be the difference between safety and causing an accident.
Ted Kaplun of KaplunMarx assists injury victims throughout the state of Pennsylvania and regularly writes for legal websites.